Iraq war veteran Adam Arroyo says that Buffalo, N.Y., police killed his pet pit bull when they targeted the wrong apartment during a drug search.
Arroyo, whose apartment contained bullet holes and blood stains by the time he returned home from work, insists he has done nothing wrong and wants an apology.
“I fought for this country,” Arroyo told The Buffalo News. “I put my life on the line for this country. I got shot at so this could be a free country. And this is how I’m treated afterward?”
Arroyo’s landlord called him at work to let him know that police had just raided his apartment and killed his dog. By the time Arroyo arrived on the scene, the police and his dog were gone. He found a trashed apartment and a search warrant.
Arroyo says the police, who were reportedly looking for crack or cocaine, did not find any drugs, just a military baton and pepper spray.
"This is stuff that I use for my safety because there are people on this block that get hurt, that get killed, and I've been here for three years and I've heard stories," Arroyo said.
The Iraq War vet also noted that the search warrant is for 304 Brekenridge “upper” and that his apartment is the “upper rear.”
Police told WGRZ that the Buffalo Police Commissioner has opened an internal investigation into the case and that police believe they had the proper address and apartment.
"There are proper procedures in place," said Commissioner Daniel Derenda when speaking with reporters about the case. "We should not get the wrong apartment. I can't justify getting the wrong apartment and as I said ... we are looking into what took place."
"People make mistakes, but this is something, it was a very big mistake, you know, especially coming in here and killing an innocent dog that is chained up," Arroyo said. "I could understand it if the dog was loose and it charged, then you know that gives them probable cause because they fear for their life, but to shoot an innocent dog that doesn't pose a threat."
Detectives do not think the pit bull was chained or leashed and Derenda notes that police officers have the right to use lethal force against a dog if it attacks them but added, "I'm a dog lover. I have three of them at home. You hate to see it happen to any animal, but you don't want to see an officer get injured."
When Derenda was asked if the dog was definitely not chained or leashed, he replied “I … I’m telling you right now it’s under investigation.”
Arroyo went to the SPCA to claim his dog’s body and pay for her cremation. He says they gave him a discount and charged him $20 instead of the usual more than $100 for the services.
Arroyo’s plans to sign up for the National Guard are now on hold as he sorts out this tragic situation.